Reading Challenge

Beat the Backlist Challenge Update


Having decided to take part in Novel Knight’s Beat the Backlist Challenge, I thought that I would do a monthly update to share my progress, and more generally to look at the state of my TBR.

You can see my original post here, but as a reminder, Beat the Backlist is to encourage the review of older (i.e. pre-2017) titles that often get overlooked in favour of new releases – something that I’m often guilty of.  I decided that I would use this challenge of a way of reducing the number of titles that have been sat on the TBR for a while – essentially anything I bought / acquired prior to 2017.  At the start of the year, I had 47 titles eligible for the challenge, and during January I managed to read 5 of them:

  • Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
  • Pendulum by Adam Hamdy
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Snakewood by Adrian Selby – I haven’t reviewed this title because I didn’t finish it.  My view has always been that life is too short to force yourself to read a book you’re not enjoying (unless you have to for a course, for example).  My personal approach is to read at least 20% of a novel before giving up on it – I think that this is usually a sufficient amount of time to “get into it” if I’m not gripped from the first page.  To me, this also allows me to take it off the TBR pile.  Why didn’t I like it?  I found it to be too disjointed, which is a shame, as it’s a fantasy novel that is actually trying to do something new in the genre.  I may try again at some point, because I still like the idea of it, and I’m willing to accept that I just not have been in the mood for it at the time
  • Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

So, my challenge table now stands at 42 titles!

TBR Watch

You might think that my overall TBR pile would have improved given that I’ve made a relatively good start on this challenge.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Despite my best efforts not to purchase books or request new titles to review, there were a few that I couldn’t resist:

  • As at 1 Jan: 56 unread = 47 of my own books plus 9 to review
  • As at 1 Feb: 62 unread = 48 of my own books plus 14 to review

February is looking pretty busy with regard to review copies that I need to read, so I don’t think that I’ll make much progress on the challenge this month 😦

We’ll see how it goes!


  1. I’ve set myself a goal of reading one book I’ve had for over 6 months for similar reasons… I have a huge back list of older titles and I’m sure they’re all brilliant and worthy of some attention

    1. Exactly! So many great books, so little time… I’m hoping that once I’ve caught up with review copies that I can do approx. half and half, in terms of old and new. We’ll see!

  2. I think this is a great idea! I keep meaning to organise my TBR pile into something approaching sensible, and this sounds ideal.

    Plus I like the idea of 20% – I’ve been going with 50-75 pages and if it doesn’t grab me, it goes back on the pile. I’m never quite sure what to do with these – a review wouldn’t work as I’ve not finished it, but adding it to a roundup post would work nicely, I think.

    1. It’s not too late if you want to join in! Before now, I’ve just glossed over the books I didn’t finish, but I think that this is a nice way of commenting on them.

  3. I like how the figures in one group go down and the other go up – this is what happens to me – as of 2017 I am trying to read 3 books a month from my pre-2017 list which has worked for January – we’ll see how I go for the rest of the year!

    1. Good luck! I’m trying for half and half, although I know I won’t manage February as I’m behind on review copies!

  4. Great start to the challenge. I read several of my own books this month too. It’s hard to find the balance between your own books and review copies, mine have built up terribly 🙈

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: